Musical pairing – Celebration by Kool & The Gang
Easter came late this year and Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day all happen this week . . . oh and add college graduations in there and I’d say we have a very full dance card . . .
Past Mother’s Days usually meant going to my mother’s house and taking a dish to add to her menu; sometimes it meant going out to dinner at a restaurant. When The Professor and I got married, we would prepare a menu of comfort-food dishes and host the shindig. If the weather was nice, we’d sit outdoors and visit; if the weather wasn’t cooperating (and most often it didn’t), we’d be indoors. And every year stories were told and loads of laughter shared . . .
My family is spread out over the West Coast so getting together isn’t feasible and in the 13 years The Professor and I have been married, the nieces and nephew have grown into young adults whose lives are quite social, so coordinating the comings and goings of everyone’s super busy schedules requires the skills of an eight-legged octopus! We can’t all be together for Mother’s Day this year . . . but if we were going to host a Mother’s Day bash, this Asparagus Tart would make an appearance.
Other than blanching the prettiest asparagus you can find, all the other components are simple, yet delicious and come together in a matter of minutes. I made my own pie crust, but feel free to use a good quality readymade one if you’d prefer. I’ve added prosciutto to mine but crispy bacon or pancetta would work as well or leave off the meat entirely for a vegetarian option.
I’ve listed this as an appetizer but add a nice tossed salad and you have a nice light lunch or dinner. I think this is pretty darn perfect for anything you might be celebrating!
Oh, and don’t panic at the length of the recipe; I’ve simply broken this out into segments – 30 minutes total baking time on the crust and while it’s baking the rest of the tart comes together!
Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart
FOR THE TART:
- 8 ounces fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 1 pound absolute best-quality ricotta (homemade ricotta is even better)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed or grated
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, both the grated zest and juice from 1/2 of lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 thin slices prosciutto OR ½ cup crispy bacon lardons (meat is optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE PATE BRISSEE
Makes 2 single crusts or 1 double crust
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ to ½ cup ice water
Need help making a pie crust? Click here for a video tutorial!
MAKE THE RICOTTA MIXTURE
- Add ricotta, garlic, herbs, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a bowl; blend together and set aside.
MAKE THE PATE BRISSEE
- Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle ¼ cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time and pulse.
- Shape dough into 2 disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. SMITH BITES NOTE: You will only use 1 disk; wrap tightly and save for another use or freeze for up to 3 months.
MAKE THE TART:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out 1 disk pate brisee on a lightly floured surface to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with edges of pan by rolling your pin across the top of the tart pan. The sharpness of the edge of the pan will cut the dough evenly; or you can use a sharp paring knife to trim.
- Prick bottom all over with a fork.
- Refrigerator for 15 minutes; do not skip this step as it’s important the crust be chilled before baking to ensure a light and flaky crust.
- Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
- Cook asparagus until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove with tongs or drain in a colander and immediately transfer to salted ice-water bath
- Let stand for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain.
- Slice each spear in half lengthwise.
- Line dough with parchment, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake until edges are just golden, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove pie weights (dried beans or rice work too), and bake until tart shell is golden brown and cooked through, about an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Spread the herbed ricotta mixture over tart shell while still warm.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with asparagus (I alternate top and bottom so that you have asparagus tips on both ends), and drape prosciutto over top.
- Drizzle with olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and pepper; serve immediately.
You might also like:
Gluten-Free Tomato Tart – Gluten Free Girl
Cabbage and Caramelized Onion Tart – A Thought For Food
Whipped Lime Cream Tart – Life’s A Feast
Fruit Tarts – Grace’s Sweet Life
Apple Tarte Tatin – Cake Duchess